28 April 2008

deep thoughts

This morning as I was making breakfast, Joshua, Patience, and I were discussing the fact that Niyi (our houseguest) has 7 children. 5 are grown up and don't live with him anymore-- just like I don't live with Grandpop and Grandmom anymore. Then he has 2 little children who live at his house. Joshua's response in a somewhat lamenting tone was, "Why do they grow up so fast?"

25 April 2008

Garty's first conversation

Last week Garty and I had our first legitimate conversation on the playground after school. (I say conversation because we took turns talking, and his responses were always appropriate to the situation.) Here's how it went:

  • G: (putting a bunch of woodchips in my hand) 'At rice.
  • B: Thank you!
  • G: Eat it.
  • B: (pretending to eat it)
  • G: (waving his hands in the air) Hot!

23 April 2008

deep breath...

Sorry we've been offline. Since the car crisis started last week, things have been insane. We've had many, many bloggable moments but no time to blog about them. I am going to try to catch up this week and share all our excitement, but right now I have to run to the supermarket. As of 9pm last night we have a Nigerian house guest who will be here for a week. We weren't expecting to host him (except for dinner one night), so I had to scramble to get the house in order at the last minute. Getting the house in order for dinner guests (when you can throw lots of random things in your bedroom and shut the door) is so different than getting ready for an overnight guest (who is sleeping in your bedroom while you sleep in your baby's room). Now I have to scramble to get enough food in the house to feed him respectably. (What? Mexican eggs with pitas and orange slices aren't considered gourmet in Africa?)

16 April 2008

vehicle crisis

Reports on Patience and Garty will be forthcoming, but right now we'd appreciate any prayers you'd like to offer on behalf of our cars. We've been trying to sell Peter's Isuzu. It's not worth much anymore, but we just want to unload it before the water pump breaks and we have to pay for the repair. (Don't worry, we're telling people the water pump is about to break. We're not being deceptive.) The plan was to go down to one car for a while so we can save some money for a mini van. Monday night, on my way to a funeral, the oil light came on in the Camry. When I got home Peter determined that there was a leak coming from the engine, so we dropped it off at the mechanic yesterday. This afternoon we got the call. They're pretty sure it's the head gasket. Because it's such a labor intensive (i.e. very expensive) repair, the mechanic doesn't recommend fixing it on a car with nearly 200,000 miles. Plus, it's possible that they would get in there and find that the problem is even more serious, requiring a major engine overhaul. The car is obviously getting up there in miles, but we weren't stressing yet because it's a Toyota. We thought we could probably hang onto it for another year or 2 without any worries. Anyway, the point is that we now have no reliable vehicle that we can drive any distance without fear. Peter helped his dad replace head gaskets in other vehicles, so he'll be looking at manuals tonight to decided if he wants to put the time into ripping ours apart to see what's going on. Thankfully, we got our tax refund last week which means we have enough cash in the bank to buy half of one of the mini vans we've been looking at. I'm voting for the front half. If you happen to see one of the first generation (1995-1998) Honda Odysseys for sale with under 100,000 miles, please let us know. That's our first choice for a variety of reasons. Being stressed and asking for prayer about cars seems so trivial, but we do have to get out once in a while. We'll fill you in on car news as things develop.

14 April 2008

surprising revelation

Today I picked Joshua up from school early for his dentist appointment. He came down the hall with 2 friends who greeted me cheerily. Then one of the girls said to me, "You look kinda white."

Joshua: one year later

The first picture shows pretty well how incredibly skinny Joshua was when we met him a year ago. However, nothing accurately depicts how skinny his arms and legs felt the first time I greased his little body. It actually felt gross to touch him because I could feel every bone. A year later, he's put on over 20 pounds, has nice strong muscles, and has gained several inches. We're still working on shrinking his enormous belly.

Looking beyond the physical, Joshua has blossomed this year in unbelievable ways. He was so incredibly fearful (and understandably so) when we first met him. He would fight us at bedtime and couldn't go to sleep unless he could see us. Now we turn off everything but a nightlight and leave with no questions asked. He even gets up by himself when his alarm goes off at 11:30pm to go to the bathroom. He gladly goes outside to play without us by his side. He now tries new activities hesitantly but without terror. He runs up the stairs to children's church on Sundays. He doesn't freak out when we leave him with grandparents or a babysitter. In fact, we often have to beg him for a goodbye hug and kiss.

We knew from day 1 that Joshua was very bright, but we never imagined that he would learn to read his first year home. After all, he had to learn to speak American English before he could possibly learn to read it. Last night he read more than 50% of Go, Dog, Go without help. He loves school. (Remember the first week of school?) He has become quite the little socialite and is very popular with students and teachers alike. He has even found himself a little girlfriend.

Joshua's horrific tantrums and unbelievable anger still surface on a rare occasion, but the miserable days of hour long wailing, kicking, and venom are gone. He's generally well behaved and functions well when he knows his perameters.

We're so blessed by our little boy. We were so nervous about adopting a 5-year-old, but now we can't imagine life any other way.

10 April 2008

liberian-american celebration

In honor of our Liberian-American family, we headed to Memdee's Restaurant in south Philly for authentic Liberian cuisine. The restaurant was small, as we expected, with 4 items on the menu plus sides. Of course, the side dish we wanted was gone. So were all the desserts. We ordered one of each main course to share around. The kidney bean "soup" (the Liberian word for nearly everything that you eat on rice) was so good that we ordered a second dish. The kids haven't lost their taste for spicy food even though neither of their new parents are big fans. Garty wasn't eating solid foods in Liberia, but he enjoyed his first tastes of his native cuisine immensely.

Evidently a year does make a big difference in some respects because both Joshua and Patience choked on tiny fish bones. A year ago they would have sucked all the meat off them and spit them out without any trouble as Mommy sat nervously by. They had even forgotten all about "peppah soup" despite the fact that for months after they came home they would always pretend to make it for us. I was so excited that it was actually one of the 4 menu items, but they didn't seem to care one way or the other. It's sad to see them forgetting their past, but there's only so much we can do to remind them.

Because we missed out on dessert at the restaurant, we stopped at the McDonald's down the street and brought sundaes home to eat. You can't get more American than that. The crazy thing is that both Joshua and Patience said they were full and couldn't finish their ice cream!!!!!!!!! We knew that some day they would have to admit that they were full, and it finally happened. We could hardly believe it. Actually, all 3 of them looked like their bellies were going to pop. They definitely consumed enough Liberian food to last until next April.

We ended our evening by watching the video that was taken when we picked them up at the orphanage. It was a great night of remembering.

the difference a year makes



I'm still having lots of tech frustrations, but check out these pictures taken on April 9, 2007 and April 9, 2008. Can you believe how much they've changed? I'll try to post about our Liberian dinner adventure later today.
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09 April 2008

technical difficulties

I've spent the past 2+ hours trying to upload a few pictures from our evening festivities, and I've simply run into one frustration after another. I'm giving up and going to bed now before I decide to throw the computer out the window. Stay tuned for fun pictures tomorrow... I hope.

gotcha day

One year ago today we met our kids, and our lives changed forever. Sometimes we can't remember life without them, and other times we can hardly believe a year has passed. Tonight we will celebrate "Gotcha Day" at a Liberian restaurant in south Philly. Please stay tuned over the next few days as we share some fun reflections of our past year and some before and after photos. Thanks for continuing to love and support our family through all the good and the bad we've seen this year. We can't wait to see what lies ahead.

07 April 2008

cute pictures

These may be the first really decent pictures we've taken of all 3 kids together since we were in Liberia. Trying to get them all looking at the camera with good expressions at the same time is nearly impossible. The first is from Easter morning. The second was the night before my brother drove out west for 4+ months of hiking. (By the way, if you're into backpacking or amazing landscapes or living out of your car, Steve started a blog to track his adventures. He's currently in Utah.)

03 April 2008

new home business

In a continuing effort to supplement our Worldlink salary, we've embarked on a new venture. Here's a picture of me after 30 minutes at J & P's Salon. Schedule your appointment today at 1-800-PLAIT-IT.

This may be hard to believe, but just a few hours before my first styling appointment, someone told me my hair looked really fantastic. Now Joshua insists on styling sessions every afternoon to make sure that never happens again. Of course, I get my hair done for free. You'll have to pay a lot of money to get this look.

02 April 2008

a request

Dear everyone:

Please get a dog... or 2 or 3. Nothing makes me happier than dogs. I prefer ones that will lick my face all over until Mommy won't even kiss me anymore. Mommy says that Daddy's allergies, her lack of patience, and our finances aren't a good fit for a dog. We have 2 cats. They're OK to chase, but they mostly run and hide. They never lick me. When you get a dog, I will visit you lots. I will laugh and laugh and laugh. I'm very cute to watch when I'm playing with a dog. Actually, I'm always cute. If you could see my cute face right now, you'd definitely get a couple of dogs. If you already have dogs, or as soon as you get them, call me right away. I talk on the phone now.

Love, Garty